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Dinosaurs, History and Murals – Tucumcari, New Mexico


Tucumcari, New Mexico is not a pass thru town. We randomly stopped in Tucumcari for 2 nights to break up our 3 day drive home from Arizona. We found ourselves at a KOA campground, just off the highway in Tucumcari. This KOA was really nice and they even escorted us to our campsite, to make sure we got pulled in ok. The folks at the KOA also told us about a Dinosaur Museum and Historical Museum in town. We were in luck! Our site seeing for the vacation was not over yet.


A Full Day In Tucumcari, New Mexico

Driving Thru Tucumcari

We woke up the next morning ready for a tour of Tucumcari, New Mexico. Tucumcari was a classic old route 66 town. There were a few abandoned old service stations, drive-ins and motels that appeared to have been left untouched since the early days of route 66. We kind of felt like we went back in time a little bit. Some of the old service stations had old classic cars parked around them. It was kind of interesting driving around, checking out the old route 66 nostalgia mixed with the modern small town.


Dinosaurs In Tucumcari

We made our way into the Dinosaur Museum to find a really great collection. It was not a very big Museum, but there was plenty to check out and the boys had a great time. There were some interesting displays of dinosaur bones, human skulls and fossils. I am intrigued by the dinosaurs a bit, but have never really spent time on the subject. I guess there is a curiosity of their place in history as all we have is the bones and carbon dating.


The Future Tucumcari Railroad Museum

We left the Dinosaur Museum and went looking for the old rail station. We were told that another museum was getting put in at the rail station. The museum wasn’t open yet, but we could tell work was being done and the outside of the building had been restored. We looked in the windows and could see a couple displays being set up. There was also a cool mural on a building across the street with Union Pacific’s logo in the center.


The Tucumcari Historical Museum

Our next stop was the Tucumcari Historical Museum. The museum was really nothing more than one of the old city buildings turned into a storage and display facility for all kinds of artifacts. There were old fence pieces, firearms, an original wooden water line, kitchen stuff, books, school items, etc… It was really, really cool. If you come thru the town, I suggest you stop in and take a look. I could have spent a lot more time in there, but a 6 and 8 year old can only spend so much time looking at this type of stuff. There was some neat stuff around the yard as well, like an old wagon, farm equipment and old caboose. I was fascinated by it.


The Murals of Tucumcari

It was at the museum that we learned of the painted murals around town. I had seen the one by the old rail station, but didn’t think anything of it until the folks at the museum told us about more of them around town. We actually went looking for a few more of them that they mentioned. There was one that had the eyes of people from town painted on the side of building. I guess these people could pay to have their eyes painted in the mural.


Happy To Find Tucumcari

Tucumcari, New Mexico turned out to be a neat little town with some hidden gems that we were definitely happy to have stumbled upon. We had 2 more days of long driving ahead of us yet and headed back to the campground to hang out for the rest of the afternoon and evening. Until next time, keep on exploring… You never know what you are going to find!

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